The 4th of July was very productive at the Hawkins residence. I’m not sure that I left the house all day but I managed to clean out my closet which is a huge feat, much like the Independence of the United States...there is my patriotic angle for the day.
You see, for the past 6 years Chip has had to travel across the house to the guest room to gather his clothes just to bring them back to our bathroom to shower and get dressed. I on the other hand have a nice sized walk in closet where I get out of the shower and get dressed at my leisure as I dry my hair and put on make-up all in the same little area. Very convenient. I am proud to say that Chip no longer has to travel cross country to gather his goods. I made space for him to have his very own rack in the closet. Yup, it’s like when you are first dating and you let him keep a toothbrush at your house. We’ve been married for 6 years and dated like 5 years before that…he finally gets to share a closet with me…and I have a dresser too. I gave him 2 drawers. Total Progress with 5 garbage bags of shoes, purses and clothes to take to Helping Hands.
The closet cleaning out was courtesy of Reid who will need to make the guest room her room, and brought to you by her mothers’ entrance into nesting. Yay for nesting! It’s one of my favorite parts of being pregnant…I know, strange…but I love it just as much as school supplies and HEB cake. It’s the best.
Hill’s daycare was closed Thursday and Friday to have the carpets cleaned. Very convenient. So my boss agreed to let me work off site so I could tend to Hill. He’s the best….right up there in the same league as nesting, school supplies and HEB cake. I forgot to tell you the beauty of my life right now. I’m 5 months pregnant and it’s July in the South and our A/C unit can’t keep up with this atrocious heat and thinks that 76 is a good degree to keep my house at….on a week that I am at home. The fans were on, the blinds were shut and all the doors throughout the rooms of the house were open for circulation. I was totally dependent on the insulation of our house and wooded lot to keep me cool. So our BFF Allen Warrington -AKA Harvey’s dad – came over Thursday morning at like 5am and started the install of a new A/C unit and furnace. Ouch to my pocketbook but I laid in bed for like 30 minutes listening to him in my attic thinking what a wonderful man he is and how he brings chilly happiness to boys and girls all over the world, like Santa. I was delusional and excited and he is my hero. I got up and managed to make more progress around the house from 5:30 am to 7:30 am than I had in like 8 days combined. Laundry done, dishes done, toys put away…what! I asked Allen if he could come over every morning to stir up productivity. Hill slept through all the thuds and plops in the attic and at 7:30 woke up and said, “Mama, whas dat noise?” I said that’s Mr. Allen working in the attic. He was so excited Mr. Allen was at his house and he probably had tools and needed his help. Hill walked outside and saw “Harvey’s truck” and wondered where Harvey was. Thank goodness Hill really didn’t feel the need to go “help” Mr. Allen because they were on a roll ahead of schedule and had the air up and running by lunch -- this pregnant lady was super happy.
Just in time for us to finish packing up the car and head to the coast. We needed to go to the coast to tend to some business, see Jane Claire & the girls (Chip’s sister and nieces), meet up with our good friends the Martin’s from Oxford that were down there visiting relatives and go to the circus with them!
We got to Gulfport about 7:30 pm and I showered to get the car funk off of me. Do you ever get that way? You've sat there doing nothing, but still need a shower? Once I was ready we went to Ocean Springs to eat at Leo’s recommended by our friends the Pettit’s. Leo’s is hands down the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. It was so fun because they have an outdoor patio with live music - - like singer songwriter David Earl Keen type music. It was awesome. Seriously one of the best nights I’ve had in a really really long time. Hill could sit for hours and watch live music which is awesome in itself. It was late though and we were all tired so the night had to end. We stayed at Jane Claire’s and hung out with her and the girls to wake up Friday morning and me, Chip and Hill to head to New Orleans. On the way to New Orleans we had to make a stop and TCB…take care business. For the past forever we have wanted to have a place of our own on the coast. I knew the area I wanted to invest in and I was very specific about which neighborhood in the area I wanted. So it was Chip’s job to find it for a reasonable price. Low and behold manna from heaven (and my husbands’ infatuation with deals and Craigslist) shone down and brought us exactly what we were looking for. I mean exactly.
The people that owned the lot lived there full time even though it’s more of a weekender type place. Katrina washed their house away in 2005 and they never rebuilt. They have two houses and didn’t feel the need to rebuild since they have another house only 35 minutes away. So, we checked out the lot, figured out the property lines, talked to a few neighbors to make sure they are cool and fun and have kids and then pretty much bought it after only one phone call back and forth to haggle.
I have no words to express my extreme happiness. All of my friends back home understand how much the Bay means to me because they too have the same fond memories and know the fun times that were had at our bay houses in Port Alto, Rockport and El Campo Club. My heart just fills to the brim knowing my kids will be able to enjoy the same great times growing up with a bay house. Chip didn’t have that growing up but he had the condo in Diamondhead which is a good layover spot but doesn't have the amenities that a bayhouse has so he and his friends are ecstatic about fishing 24-7 as the house will be right near their favorite fishing spots…like I can probably see it from my balcony once it’s built.
So anyway, it will be later than sooner when we build (way later once I figured out we’d pay more in monthly insurance than my personal residences’ monthly utility bills). I figure that unless a monetary ship comes in we will have to wait until Hill and my unborn baby don’t have daycare dues anymore. So 4-5 years if we want to be smart about this. I’m ok with that, because we are in such a good position right now and we don’t have to rush out and build or make rash decisions…we own the lot we want and we can take our time.
Through my research building on the coast has a LOT more hoops to jump through than your average bear. Structural pilings have to be x amount above the blah blah blah and then your house has to meet certain weights per piling, which in turn determines how much your insurance is. My head hurts and I don’t mean to sound like a snob, but I’m so glad that you can pay people to figure all of that out…or better yet, have a dad that knows random things like that. We’ve gone ahead designed the inside and my dad is helping design the exterior, as that is by far his most favorite thing to do. By the end of the day Friday I had 19 emails and no less that 45 texts from him as he drove around Rockport taking pictures and drawing sketches of houses. He’s so funny. He told me Saturday morning that he is so excited to help design this that he woke up thinking about it and it’s all he can think about. He’s been sending me texts to go look at certain pictures and get ideas. When he found out that I wasn’t getting Architectural Digest anymore he immediately re-subscribed me to it. He’s obsessively hilarious and very helpful. It’s what he thrives on and is very very good at. I guess since he’s finished with renovating his Rockport houses he needs a new project and we are super happy and invite his know how and ideas.
So, I’ll digress and talk about the rest of the trip. After visiting the lot in Bay St. Louis we headed to New Orleans, which was only 40 minutes away. The craving I’ve had since February of the redfish meuniere at Coop’s Place would be fulfilled. I was a happy little girl. So we find a parking spot, get to the door and I’d forgotten that you have to be 21 to enter, even to just eat. So, Hill and I went to the French Market and found a table and Chip went and got a to go order of the redfish. As Chip walked up with the white Styrofoam box I think I might have seen God beams shine down on him. It was a glorious moment and a heavenly taste in my mouth. Do yourself a favor and get in the car right now and go eat it. Right now. You can thank me later. Afterwards we headed to the Aquarium.
The Aquarium was a lot of fun. Chip and I have been before but we enjoyed it so much more with Hill. It’s way more fun experiencing things through the eyes of a 2 year old. The fish seem more animated, the sting rays smile at you as they waft over your head in the tanks and the sharks seem more (in a big boy gruff voice) SCARRRYYY! It’s all fun and games until you go into the rainforest and a freaking big ass red parrot flips out and falls (yes falls not fly’s) down the stairs and almost crashes into Hill and I. My cat like reflexes throw Hill in the air and catch him as to not be taken down by a spread winged red mammoth. Do you know how freaking big parrots are with their wings open? We were totally innocent bystanders. The zoo keeper guy came running down the stairs to get the red monster and said something spooked the bird and he flipped out. No joke! That was an understatement. Hill will be traumatized for the rest of his life – I have no doubts. Chip on the other hand cracked up laughing the whole time. The Aquarium didn’t seem so fun to Hill after that. I can’t really say I blame him. So we got him a t-shirt to show he’d been and left the Big Easy. Looking back it really is funny, but was scary at the time. I wished we had it on video.
We got back to Jane Claire’s house in Gulfport and Hill told her about the “big red scary bird.” Then three days later we were watching tv and a red parrot came on. Hill said, “Mama! It’s the big red scary bird!” I’m pretty sure he’s damaged for life.
Saturday morning we woke up and got dressed for the day and grabbed some Chick-fil-a chicken minis, which are ALWAYS good for the soul, and headed back to the lot in Bay St. Louis. I wanted to walk the bushy lot because the day before I had on a dress and didn’t want to trek through it without pants on. Chiggers love pregnant women…I’ve learned that through picking blackberries with Hill this summer. So I had on jeans and trekked my 5 month pregnant bootie through the bushy jungle to make sure there weren’t any low spots or areas that hold moisture. The lot was level which is great!
I’m sure you’re asking…why didn’t your husband walk the lot instead of the 5 month pregnant woman in Southern July heat? Well, those of you that know my husband aren’t asking that question because you know that he is so afraid of snakes I have to do everything wilderness like in the summertime for him like…make sure there are no snakes in his boathouse, make sure the lot we are purchasing is level, come home from work to kill a snake with a hoe outside in my suit and high heels because he can’t even sit in the living room without thinking it is going to get him. You know he hunts everything except turkeys yet do you know why? Because snakes are out during turkey season! My favorite job…dispose of snakes he’s blown the heads off of…you get the picture? And the irony is – I hate snakes too! It just comes with the Chippy territory you become immune to it and it never gets old because his fear is always hilarious. I’ve seen him jump 10 feet in the air flailing his arms and screaming like a girl because he saw a stick that looked like a snake. Priceless.
After I surveyed the lot we went on to eat at Whitecaps on Hwy 90. The view is great but the food and service were awful. I’d not eaten there before but Chip had and he said that it was the same way the time before he just thought maybe he’d caught them on a bad day. To make up for the drab food experience it was time for the Ringling Brothers Circus!!
We met our Oxford friends Susan, Daniel, Sullivan and Daniel’s mom Anna at the Coliseum. We had awesome seats, thanks Susan, and it was a “Spectacular” show. Hill wore his "E" is for elephant shirt and Sullivan was excited about the “surface” too. I loved the elephants and decided it would be great to have an elephant but it had to have a funny personality or I wouldn't really like it. Hill said he liked the camels the best. When we pulled into the parking lot Chip said he saw them leaf blowing the camels to make their hair poofy. I hate I missed that! The circus acrobats had this spinning double hamster wheel thing that they were doing tricks in and my stomach was in knots watching it but just as I was thinking, Susan and Daniel would love scary things like that - - Susan said, “Oh that looks fun! I want to do that!” The Martin clan is freaks I tell you! You saw the pictures of them on all the carnival rides with Hill a few weeks ago. Ok so they aren’t freaks, I’m just a big ol’ chicken. Anyway, the Martin’s should join the circus and the Hawkins will become carnies since we like to drink and put things together and take them apart. If the Martin’s were circus members’ maybe they could give us a break on the $18 light up swords and $10 sno cones? Hill was not leaving without a light up spinning vibrating sword. The circus was fantastic and the Martin’s are fantastic. I’m so glad we had the opportunity to go!
But alas, the fun must end. Saturday morning we had gotten a call from a rental tenant that the A/C window unit went out. So, after the circus we went to Home Depot and bought a new unit then headed back to the Land of Koz to save them from melting in this sweltering heat.
I think we must have peeved off the A/C Gods. We replaced our entire house unit Thursday, then Saturday the rental property needed a new window unit, then on the way home my car a/c was on the fritz…it ended up being something Chip found an internet fix for, but seriously the thousands of dollars we have spent in that 3 day span makes me vomit in my mouth, profusely…but then I get over it because I don’t even want to pretend like I’d be ok without a/c. I would sell my soul to the devil for a/c being pregnant in this horrific humid heat…honestly, I probably wouldn’t have to even be pregnant…I just threw that in there for a little dramatic woe is me spin.
We got home Saturday night dropped off the window unit and pulled in the drive way at like 10:00 pm. Chip drove, I was pooped and Hill was a trooper having sat in his car seat from 4:00-10:00 (he slept like 3 of those hours.) It was so nice walking into a clean house, thank you Delfina, and to see my 4 legged babies. We were able to relax all day Sunday. What a fun busy week we’d had!